Acadia

Dec 4, 2013 12:01 AM by Erin Steuber

Grand Jury Can Upgrade Manslaughter Charge in Skylar Credeur Case

The district attorney handling the Skylar Credeur murder case is speaking out. This after the only person of interest in the case, her step-father, is now officially charged in connection with her death. Yesterday, Kerry Bertrand was re-booked into the Acadia Parish jail on manslaughter charges. He has been held there since August on other charges, including six counts of violating protective orders and molestation.

Initially, Skylar's death was ruled a suicide when investigators found her in her bathtub with a laptop. But that all changed when family members found Bertrand hiding in the attic. Just days before the 20-year-old's death, she filed a restraining order against him.

But after month's of waiting for lab results, it was unclear why the district attorney decided to suddenly press charges, and why the charge of manslaughter.

It's a case that may finally see it's day in court, now that District Attorney Mike Harson has filed manslaughter charges against Kerry Bertrand in the death of 20-year-old Skylar Credeur.

"We couldn't formally charge him with second degree murder, or anything higher, without a grand jury," said Harson.

A grand jury can upgrade Bertrand's charges to first, or second, degree murder in the death of his step-daughter if they see fit. As for the lab results the DA's office is still waiting on......

"The DNA, to my knowledge, has not developed a lot of positive information. So there were no eye witnesses, and so forth, so it's pretty much a circumstantial evidence case," said Harson.

Circumstantial evidence is determined from events, or circumstances, surrounding a crime. In this case, Bertrand being found in the attic of the home where Skylar was killed fits the description.

"This is just a charge, essentially, to get us started and to hold him until we can get the grand jury convened on the 17th," said Harson. "We'll let them decide if there is enough evidence to charge him with any of the crimes."

Since the murder in AugusT, Bertrand has been in jail, but on molestation charges. Skylar filed those charges, even going as far as saying the abuse happened over most of her life. But now, without her testimony, Harson says there is little they can do to pursue those charges.

"If evidence would prove that the homicide was connected to those charges, and so forth, to the extent that the position could be taken, that he did it to remove a witness against him," said Harson. "There could be an argument made that would possibly fit into first-degree murder."

Kerry Bertrand will remain in jail on $1 million bond until the Skylar Credeur case is heard before a grand jury December 17th..

» There are multiple updates to this story. Please click here to get the latest information.

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